When studying demography or economics we read An Essay on the Principle of Population, a famous treatise of Thomas Robert Malthus published in eighteenth century. We learn and get the understanding from the book’s Malthus that the world will be overpopulated. World population is correlated with food provision, and people starve and starvation will happen in many parts of this globe, then people will be suffering from diseases. Scarce of food or insufficient nutrition will stop the population growth. Malthus predicted the increase of food production was unbalance to the increase of population.
The fear of population growth danger became the concerned of all nations. This makes the whole nations develop family planning programs. Researches in human fertility, birth control, improved society and the others perfectible life in supporting the family planning programs resulted in decreasing population growth and improving the welfare of society. Now, Malthus theory is being rejected as Gavin (2012) reported that “in the first decade of the 21stcentury, a number of East Asia countries have undercut the European countries characterized by lowest-low fertility of below TFR of 1.3, and in Taiwan fertility continue to decline until 2008. By mid-decade, fertility in those countries was among the very lowest in the world”
Figure 1. Export Graph Showing the Increase of Local Rice Production
(www.Oryza.Com 19 June.2012)
East and South East Asian belong to regions of rapid increase in population growth, but the report of Gavin as the United Nations Expert Paper stated like that, demographic theories of Malthus have been denied and not perfect. Agronomists of developing countries have been improving their agro-technologies, traditional irregular plant-spacing had been replaced by regular plant-spacing since 1960s. Experimental research in plant-spacing which is combined with others agronomic practices such as the application of fertilizers, rates of irrigation water, weeding frequencies, trimming, and others treatments have resulted in significant increase of crop production. Plant breeders increase crop production by engineering the plant heredity. An experiment conducted by Sutaryo (2003) in experimental area of the Indonesian Rice Research Centre showed a promising result. The experiment developed hybrid variety (F1) through crossing of parents IR-64 (national-wide established cultivar) with IR 68 and IR 58 cultivars. Hybrid varieties derived from the crossing posses characteristic of increasing standard heterosis by 29.57 % up to 41.43 % (with best hybrid for grain yield). If this plant breeders achievement is maintained the Indonesian population growth rate (1.1% per annum) is outnumbered with the rate of rice production increase (29.57%-41.43% say for 10 years process of releasing new improved variety). Again the Malthus prediction is incorrect and rejected.
Figure 2. Improved Variety-Increase Yield (www.fotosearch.com. 19. June.20120
Efforts to enhance societal welfare in food provision are not only conducted through increasing production of certain commodity but also through diversification of consumption. Setiadi (1010) reported that”Artocarpus altilis (breadfruit) has the same nutrition characteristics with common Indonesian staple food (rice). It contains 75% carbohydrate, 11% protein, 5% fat. Breadfruit plant is suitable for cultivation in most Indonesian archipelago. The Crop yields fruits about 100 kg-150 kg per tree per season. The plant grows well and withstands in dry land where rice plant cannot be cultivated.
The research finding on diversification of food is in line with the Breadfruit Institute information (2012) noted that “ Breadfruit is a versatile crop and the fruit can be cooked and eaten at all stages of maturity. It is an important staple food in the Pacific region and other tropical regions. Breadfruit is good source of protein (13%-20%) and low in fat (6%-19%)”
Figure 3. Breadfruit, Ready for Consumption (www.ntbg.org., 19 June, 2012)
The success reports of the increases of food production, food source diversification, and efforts of human kind to preserve the welfare in this world confirm that Malthus prediction (research) was not perfect. People may agree and disagree in the Malthus, but for optimist educator and researcher there is no Fear of Starvation. People in developing country are making all the efforts to avoid and reject the Malthus theory, and we optimist to attain the success. The optimism is stand to the reason because the efforts are always be supported and helped by the generous and well concerned of wealth and developed countries in Europe and North America. The food scarce happened in some parts of Africa is just a matter of food distribution and local peace and security problems. When this problem can be solved there will be No Fear of Starvation.
Figure 4 : Distribution Gap (Photo was contributed by Sani Manga, Abuja, Nigeria 2011)
Gavin, W. Jones (2012). Recent Fertility Trends, Policy Responses and Fertility Prospects in Low Fertility Countries of East and Southeast Asia. Population Division Expert Paper No.2011/5. UN.Department of Economic and Social Affairs.un.org. Desember 2011. Web. 21 April 2012.
Setiadi, Dedi., Hamdan A. Nugraha and N.K. Kartikawati (2010). Sukun an Alternative Food Community Farm. Indonesian Research and Development Center for Plant Forestry. Bing. com. 2010. Web. 21 April 2012
Sutaryo, Bambang (2003). Standard Heterosis for Grain yield in Rice Field Irrigated. Agricultural Science Journal (Jurnal ilmu Pertanian). Faculty of Agriculture. Gajah Mada University. Yogyakarta. Indonesia. Vol 10. No.2. 2003. Pp.70-78
The Breadfruit Institute (2012). Breadfruit. National Tropical Botanical Garden.ntbg.org.2012. Web. 21 April 2012.